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World-Check Global Counter-Terrorism Database Leaks Online

By Victor Thomson , Jun 30, 2016 05:30 AM EDT
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A global counter-terrorism financial crime database called World-Check has been leaked on the web.

According to a Thomson Reuters document titled World-Check Risk Screening, the database contains details about organizations and people suspected of being involved in organized crime, terrorism and money laundering, among other offences. Under European privacy laws, access to the World-Check global database is supposed to be restricted.

BBC reports that Thomson Reuters, the creator of the World-Check, has confirmed an unnamed third-party exposed a version of the database online. However, the good news is that the exposed material is an out-to date version of the database and since the leak the material has been removed.

The leak has been discovered and reported to the Register by security researcher Chris Vickery, from the software company MacKeeper. The exposed material is two years old and contains more than two million records.

According to TechCrunch, following the leak of global counter-terrorism database, Vickery also posted on Reddit that a mid-2014 copy of the World-Check database had come into his possession. Vickery added that the database contains 2.2 million-record copies of organizations and individuals.

The security researcher pointed out that in his acquisition of the database was not involved hacking and this is more of a leak. Thomson Reuters spokesperson David Crundwell confirmed that the leak was due to a "third party."

Vickery revealed in an email to TechCrunch that the leak was due to a CouchDB instance "mistakenly" configured for public access. According to Vickery, the company that is likely responsible for the exposed CouchDB is a London-based financial services firm called SmartKYC.

The World-Check global counter-terrorism database has the purpose to provide corporations, banks, governments, law enforcement and intelligence agencies with security screenings about entities and people.

Thomson Reuters explains on its website that it monitors hundreds of thousands of information sources and over 530 watch and regulatory law and enforcement lists. According to Reuters, the World-Check database is updated by more than 350 research analysts who are based in 11 research centers across the world.

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